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As I See It: Programs for individuals leaving incarceration benefit us all

MA Representative James O'Day
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
April 2, 2019

Massachusetts turned a corner last year, investing significantly for the first time in decades in reentry services for individuals returning to the community after incarceration. This year, the Legislature has an opportunity to expand that initial $5 million investment to $7 million and open the door to additional programs that can build safer, stronger communities in Worcester and across the Commonwealth.

I was proud to support Massachusetts’ reinvestment in reentry, and I’ll be advocating for additional funding in next year’s budget. Here’s why.

Worcester ranks third among Massachusetts cities and towns – behind only Boston and Springfield – in the number of individuals who return to live in city neighborhoods each year after being released from incarceration. Organizations like Dismas House, EPOCA, and Advocates do excellent work helping these individuals access the critical components for beginning a new, successful life in the community – housing, employment, and mental health treatment – but they’re only able to meet a tiny fraction of the demand for these services